Landmark study into pregnancy and sport

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A major study into the impact of pregnancy in high performance sport has been launched in the hope its findings can be used to increase career longevity for women athletes.

Over the next three months, the Australian Institute of Sport will survey athletes about the physical, mental, financial, and social impacts of pregnancy on their decision to remain in sport.

Two-time Olympic water polo player Lea Yanitsas had her son Dino between the Rio and Tokyo Olympic games.

"I would have loved to be able to access more research, more resources and more information about my return to elite competition following having my son," Ms Yanitsas said.

"I leant hard on the research available and the experience of my friends who are elite athlete mothers and so much was trial and error.

"I wish I had had more support in navigating travel, breastfeeding, expressing and the practicalities of trying to train with a newborn."

Former Olympian and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Dr Rachel Harris said the 'Mum-Alete' study would help attract and retain women in high performance sport.

"As a former athlete and as a health professional, I know first-hand how difficult it has been in the past to find guidance about important issues facing female athletes such as pregnancy," Dr Harris said.

Federal Minister for Sport Richard Colbeck said the research would benefit athletes at every level.

"We want our female athletes to succeed in competition and beyond it," Mr Colbeck said.

The results of the research are expected to be published in April 2022.

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